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Lost Melnibonean

House Dayne

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Part I

In A Game of Thrones, we begin to learn about Eddard's relationship with Arthur Dayne and Ashara Dayne, and in the Appendix, we learn that the Lord of Starfall, seat of House Dayne, is some fellow named Edric. As we read about House Dayne in Game, we see the clues that lead us to Jon's true parentage. 


Ned brought his bastard home with him, and called him "son" for all the north to see. When the wars were over at last, and Catelyn rode to Winterfell, Jon and his wet nurse had already taken up residence.

That cut deep. Ned would not speak of the mother, not so much as a word, but a castle has no secrets, and Catelyn heard her maids repeating tales they heard from the lips of her husband's soldiers. They whispered of Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, deadliest of the seven knights of Aerys's Kingsguard, and of how their young lord had slain him in single combat. And they told how afterward Ned had carried Ser Arthur's sword back to the beautiful young sister who awaited him in a castle called Starfall on the shores of the Summer Sea. The Lady Ashara Dayne, tall and fair, with haunting violet eyes. It had taken her a fortnight to marshal her courage, but finally, in bed one night, Catelyn had asked her husband the truth of it, asked him to his face.

That was the only time in all their years that Ned had ever frightened her. "Never ask me about Jon," he said, cold as ice. "He is my blood, and that is all you need to know. And now I will learn where you heard that name, my lady." She had pledged to obey; she told him; and from that day on, the whispering had stopped, and Ashara Dayne's name was never heard in Winterfell again.

Catelyn II, Game 6

We are told that Eddard sired a bastard during Robert’s Rebellion, acknowledged him, and raised him with his trueborn sons.

Eddard returned to Winterfell with Jon Snow and Jon’s wetnurse before Catelyn arrived there with Eddard’s trueborn son Robb Stark.

Eddard's men believed that he slew Ser Arthur Dayne. Arthur was called the Sword of the Morning. Arthur was the deadliest of Aerys’s Kingsguard.

Starfall was the seat of House Dayne. Starfall was on the shore of the Summer Sea in Dorne. Eddard returned Arthur’s sword to Starfall, and presented it to Ashara Dayne. Ashara was tall and comely, with haunting violet eyes.

Apparently, Catelyn believed Ashara was Jon’s mother, and she confronted Eddard, but Eddard refused to acknowledge the rumor, and demanded that the subject not be raised again.


Bran was going to be a knight himself someday, one of the Kingsguard. Old Nan said they were the finest swords in all the realm. There were only seven of them, and they wore white armor and had no wives or children, but lived only to serve the king. Bran knew all the stories. Their names were like music to him. Serwyn of the Mirror Shield. Ser Ryam Redwyne. Prince Aemon the Dragonknight. The twins Ser Erryk and Ser Arryk, who had died on one another's swords hundreds of years ago, when brother fought sister in the war the singers called the Dance of the Dragons. The White Bull, Gerold Hightower. Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. Barristan the Bold.

Bran II, Game 8

Bran tells us that Arthur was a recent legend, and we will see many more quotes in Game, Clash, and Storm that show us that Arthur was one of the finest of, and perhaps the best of, the fighters of his generation, and that he was a model of knightly chivalry.


"You were never the boy you were," Robert grumbled. "More's the pity. And yet there was that one time . . . what was her name, that common girl of yours? Becca? No, she was one of mine, gods love her, black hair and these sweet big eyes, you could drown in them. Yours was . . . Aleena? No. You told me once. Was it Merryl? You know the one I mean, your bastard's mother?"

"Her name was Wylla," Ned replied with cool courtesy, "and I would sooner not speak of her."

"Wylla. Yes." The king grinned. "She must have been a rare wench if she could make Lord Eddard Stark forget his honor, even for an hour. You never told me what she looked like . . . "

Ned's mouth tightened in anger. "Nor will I. Leave it be, Robert, for the love you say you bear me. I dishonored myself and I dishonored Catelyn, in the sight of gods and men."

"Gods have mercy, you scarcely knew Catelyn."

"I had taken her to wife. She was carrying my child."

"You are too hard on yourself, Ned. You always were. Damn it, no woman wants Baelor the Blessed in her bed." He slapped a hand on his knee. "Well, I'll not press you if you feel so strong about it, though I swear, at times you're so prickly you ought to take the hedgehog as your sigil."


Ned did not feign surprise; Robert's hatred of the Targaryens was a madness in him. He remembered the angry words they had exchanged when Tywin Lannister had presented Robert with the corpses of Rhaegar's wife and children as a token of fealty. Ned had named that murder; Robert called it war. When he had protested that the young prince and princess were no more than babes, his new-made king had replied, "I see no babes. Only dragonspawn." Not even Jon Arryn had been able to calm that storm. Eddard Stark had ridden out that very day in a cold rage, to fight the last battles of the war alone in the south. It had taken another death to reconcile them; Lyanna's death, and the grief they had shared over her passing.

Eddard II, Game 12

Eddard told Robert that the mother of Jon was named Wylla. Wylla was a common girl. Apparently, Eddard had told Robert of this long ago, presumably on his way back to Winterfell from Starfall, when they reconciled. But apparently, Robert never met Wylla.


He dreamt an old dream, of three knights in white cloaks, and a tower long fallen, and Lyanna in her bed of blood.

In the dream his friends rode with him, as they had in life. Proud Martyn Cassel, Jory's father; faithful Theo Wull; Ethan Glover, who had been Brandon's squire; Ser Mark Ryswell, soft of speech and gentle of heart; the crannogman, Howland Reed; Lord Dustin on his great red stallion. Ned had known their faces as well as he knew his own once, but the years leech at a man's memories, even those he has vowed never to forget. In the dream they were only shadows, grey wraiths on horses made of mist.

They were seven, facing three. In the dream as it had been in life. Yet these were no ordinary three. They waited before the round tower, the red mountains of Dorne at their backs, their white cloaks blowing in the wind. And these were no shadows; their faces burned clear, even now. Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, had a sad smile on his lips. The hilt of the greatsword Dawn poked up over his right shoulder. Ser Oswell Whent was on one knee, sharpening his blade with a whetstone. Across his white-enameled helm, the black bat of his House spread its wings. Between them stood fierce old Ser Gerold Hightower, the White Bull, Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.

"I looked for you on the Trident," Ned said to them.

"We were not there," Ser Gerold answered.

"Woe to the Usurper if we had been," said Ser Oswell.

"When King's Landing fell, Ser Jaime slew your king with a golden sword, and I wondered where you were."

"Far away," Ser Gerold said, "or Aerys would yet sit the Iron Throne, and our false brother would burn in seven hells."

"I came down on Storm's End to lift the siege," Ned told them, "and the Lords Tyrell and Redwyne dipped their banners, and all their knights bent the knee to pledge us fealty. I was certain you would be among them."

"Our knees do not bend easily," said Ser Arthur Dayne.

"Ser Willem Darry is fled to Dragonstone, with your queen and Prince Viserys. I thought you might have sailed with him."

"Ser Willem is a good man and true," said Ser Oswell.

"But not of the Kingsguard," Ser Gerold pointed out. "The Kingsguard does not flee."

"Then or now," said Ser Arthur. He donned his helm.

"We swore a vow," explained old Ser Gerold.

Ned's wraiths moved up beside him, with shadow swords in hand. They were seven against three.

"And now it begins," said Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. He unsheathed Dawn and held it with both hands. The blade was pale as milkglass, alive with light.

"No," Ned said with sadness in his voice. "Now it ends." As they came together in a rush of steel and shadow, he could hear Lyanna screaming. "Eddard!" she called. A storm of rose petals blew across a blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eyes of death.

"Lord Eddard," Lyanna called again.

"I promise," he whispered. "Lya, I promise . . . "


Martyn Cassel had perished with the rest. Ned had pulled the tower down afterward, and used its bloody stones to build eight cairns upon the ridge. It was said that Rhaegar had named that place the tower of joy, but for Ned it was a bitter memory. They had been seven against three, yet only two had lived to ride away; Eddard Stark himself and the little crannogman, Howland Reed.

Eddard X, Game 39

Apparently, Lyanna died soon after childbirth. Ned arrived to claim her before she died. Lyanna was defended by three of the Kingsguard, Arthur, Ser Oswell Whent, and the Lord Commander Ser Gerold Hightower called the White Bull. Arthur had a sad smile, suggesting the confrontation would be bittersweet.

A question remains as to the vow Gerold mentioned. Was he referring to the vow of the Kingsguard to defend the king and their duty to protect the king's family, or was it a specific vow sworn to Rhaegar at the Tower of Joy? If it was the first, that would suggest either Lyanna or the babe were of the king's family. In other words, that Rhaegar had taken Lyanna as a second wife, and/or that Rhaegar was the father of the baby.

The line, “A storm of rose petals blew across a blood-streaked sky, as blue as the eyes of death,” appears to be symbolic. Soon we will be able to make the associations, but not just yet. And Eddard promised something to Lyanna, but we cannot be sure what it is just yet.


"Honor," she spat. "How dare you play the noble lord with me! What do you take me for? You've a bastard of your own, I've seen him. Who was the mother, I wonder? Some Dornish peasant you raped while her holdfast burned? A whore? Or was it the grieving sister, the Lady Ashara? She threw herself into the sea, I'm told. Why was that? For the brother you slew, or the child you stole? Tell me, my honorable Lord Eddard, how are you any different from Robert, or me, or Jaime?"

Eddard XII, Game 45

Cersei tells us that Ashara threw herself into the sea, in grief for either her brother Arthur or Jon Snow, assuming Jon was the son of Eddard and Ashara, and that Eddard had taken the boy from her. Since we will soon realize that Jon was not actually Eddard’s son, we are left to wonder whether Ashara loved her brother so much that she threw herself into the sea upon his death. But that just doesn’t add up, does it? Perhaps she did not actually throw herself into the sea, or perhaps she did so for some other reason. At this point, it is a mystery.

This doesn't tell us anything about House Dayne, but I include it for completeness...


Sansa watched as the knight peered up at his new king. She had never seen him look his years before, yet now he did. "Your Grace," he said. "I was chosen for the White Swords in my twenty-third year. It was all I had ever dreamed, from the moment I first took sword in hand. I gave up all claim to my ancestral keep. The girl I was to wed married my cousin in my place, I had no need of land or sons, my life would be lived for the realm. Ser Gerold Hightower himself heard my vows . . . to ward the king with all my strength . . . to give my blood for his . . . I fought beside the White Bull and Prince Lewyn of Dorne . . . beside Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning. Before I served your father, I helped shield King Aerys, and his father Jaehaerys before him . . . three kings . . . "

Sansa V, Game 57

Here, we get a little back story on the Tourney at Harrenhal...


He could no longer tell the difference between waking and sleeping. The memory came creeping upon him in the darkness, as vivid as a dream. It was the year of false spring, and he was eighteen again, down from the Eyrie to the tourney at Harrenhal. He could see the deep green of the grass, and smell the pollen on the wind. Warm days and cool nights and the sweet taste of wine. He remembered Brandon's laughter, and Robert's berserk valor in the melee, the way he laughed as he unhorsed men left and right. He remembered Jaime Lannister, a golden youth in scaled white armor, kneeling on the grass in front of the king's pavilion and making his vows to protect and defend King Aerys. Afterward, Ser Oswell Whent helped Jaime to his feet, and the White Bull himself, Lord Commander Ser Gerold Hightower, fastened the snowy cloak of the Kingsguard about his shoulders. All six White Swords were there to welcome their newest brother.

Yet when the jousting began, the day belonged to Rhaegar Targaryen. The crown prince wore the armor he would die in: gleaming black plate with the three-headed dragon of his House wrought in rubies on the breast. A plume of scarlet silk streamed behind him when he rode, and it seemed no lance could touch him. Brandon fell to him, and Bronze Yohn Royce, and even the splendid Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning.

Robert had been jesting with Jon and old Lord Hunter as the prince circled the field after unhorsing Ser Barristan in the final tilt to claim the champion's crown. Ned remembered the moment when all the smiles died, when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen urged his horse past his own wife, the Dornish princess Elia Martell, to lay the queen of beauty's laurel in Lyanna's lap. He could see it still: a crown of winter roses, blue as frost.

Ned Stark reached out his hand to grasp the flowery crown, but beneath the pale blue petals the thorns lay hidden. He felt them clawing at his skin, sharp and cruel, saw the slow trickle of blood run down his fingers, and woke, trembling, in the dark.

Promise me, Ned, his sister had whispered from her bed of blood. She had loved the scent of winter roses.

Eddard XV, Game 58

Now, we can decipher the imagery from Eddard’s Tower of Joy dream. The rose petals and the color blue allude to the crown of winter roses that Rhaegar gave to Lyanna at the Tourney at Harrenhal, and the blood and death allude to Lyanna’s death during childbirth, strongly suggesting that Lyanna gave birth to Rhaegar’s son.

That three men of the Kingsguard, including the Lord Commander, were defending Lyanna and Jon, while Rhaegar left, by himself, to join the other four kingsguards preparing to battle Robert, strongly suggests that Rhaegar may have taken Lyanna as a second wife, and that Jon may have been Rhaegar’s trueborn son.

At this point, we can surmise that Eddard promised Lyanna to keep her little Targling safe. And of course, that meant lying to Robert, his wife, and the rest of the realm.

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Part II

In A Clash of Kings, we learn a bit from Bran, but not much from Catelyn...


"The finest knight I ever saw was Ser Arthur Dayne, who fought with a blade called Dawn, forged from the heart of a fallen star. They called him the Sword of the Morning, and he would have killed me but for Howland Reed." Father had gotten sad then, and he would say no more. Bran wished he had asked him what he meant.

Bran III, Clash 21

Here we are given cause to question whether Eddard actually slew Arthur in single combat as his men believed, and that he apparently allowed his men to believe. Was this because he needed the help of House Dayne to perfect his promise to Lyanna and the honorable lie?

We are also given reason to suspect that Dawn was forged from the otherworldly metal deposit of a meteorite. 


Her own children had more Tully about them than Stark. Arya was the only one to show much of Ned in her features. And Jon Snow, but he was never mine. She found herself thinking of Jon's mother, that shadowy secret love her husband would never speak of. Does she grieve for Ned as I do? Or did she hate him for leaving her bed for mine? Does she pray for her son as I have prayed for mine?

They were uncomfortable thoughts, and futile. If Jon had been born of Ashara Dayne of Starfall, as some whispered, the lady was long dead; if not, Catelyn had no clue who or where his mother might be. And it made no matter. Ned was gone now, and his loves and his secrets had all died with him.

Catelyn VI, Clash 4

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Part III

A Storm of Swords


“Myles Mooton was Prince Rhaegar's squire, and Richard Lonmouth after him. When they won their spurs, he knighted them himself, and they remained his close companions. Young Lord Connington was dear to the prince as well, but his oldest friend was Arthur Dayne."

"The Sword of the Morning!" said Dany, delighted. "Viserys used to talk about his wondrous white blade. He said Ser Arthur was the only knight in the realm who was our brother's peer."

Daenerys I, Storm 8

Now, we know that Arthur was Rhaegar’s oldest friend, and that Rhaegar's circle also included Myles Mooton, Richard Lonmouth, and Jon Connington. 


"I earned my knighthood. Nothing was given to me. I won a tourney mêlée at thirteen, when I was yet a squire. At fifteen, I rode with Ser Arthur Dayne against the Kingswood Brotherhood, and he knighted me on the battlefield. It was that white cloak that soiled me, not the other way around.”

Jaime II, Storm 11


Robert had been stronger than him, to be sure. The White Bull Gerold Hightower as well, in his heyday, and Ser Arthur Dayne. Amongst the living, Greatjon Umber was stronger, Strongboar of Crakehall most likely, both Cleganes for a certainty. The Mountain's strength was like nothing human. It did not matter. With speed and skill, Jaime could beat them all.

Jaime III, Storm 21

The two quotes above reinforce our understanding of what a great knight Arthur was. The two quotes below tell us that the Sword of the Morning was not just a title given to the wielder of Dawn, but also the name of a constellation in the southern sky.


So many stars, he thought as he trudged up the slope through pines and firs and ash. Maester Luwin had taught him his stars as a boy in Winterfell; he had learned the names of the twelve houses of heaven and the rulers of each; he could find the seven wanderers sacred to the Faith; he was old friends with the Ice Dragon, the Shadowcat, the Moonmaid, and the Sword of the Morning.

Jon III, Storm 26


The eastern sky was pink near the horizon and pale grey higher up. The Sword of the Morning still hung in the south, the bright white star in its hilt blazing like a diamond in the dawn, but the blacks and greys of the darkling forest were turning once again to greens and golds, reds and russets. And above the soldier pines and oaks and ash and sentinels stood the Wall, the ice pale and glimmering beneath the dust and dirt that pocked its surface.

Jon IV, Storm 30

I have an idea about that constellation and others. But, if nothing else, that a constellation was named the Sword of the Morning, suggests one of two possibilities: The wielder of Dawn was named for a constellation since the sword came from the stars, or the constellation was named for the wielder of Dawn. We are really left to wonder whether Dawn and the Sword of the Morning played a role in the ancient Battle for the Dawn, and whether House Dayne and a new Sword of the Morning will play a role in the upcoming War for the Dawn.

And here is yet another quote to reinforce our understanding of what a great knight Arthur was...


"When he was young, His Grace rode brilliantly in a tourney at Storm's End, defeating Lord Steffon Baratheon, Lord Jason Mallister, the Red Viper of Dorne, and a mystery knight who proved to be the infamous Simon Toyne, chief of the kingswood outlaws. He broke twelve lances against Ser Arthur Dayne that day."

Daenerys IV, Storm 42

And now, finally, we get to meet a Dayne!


The squire seemed nice enough to Arya; maybe a little shy, but good-natured. She had always heard that Dornishmen were small and swarthy, with black hair and small black eyes, but Ned had big blue eyes, so dark that they looked almost purple. And his hair was a pale blond, more ash than honey.

"How long have you been Lord Beric's squire?" she asked, to take his mind from his misery.

"He took me for his page when he espoused my aunt." He coughed. "I was seven, but when I turned ten he raised me to squire. I won a prize once, riding at rings."

"I never learned the lance, but I could beat you with a sword," said Arya. "Have you killed anyone?"

That seemed to startle him. "I'm only twelve."

I killed a boy when I was eight, Arya almost said, but she thought she'd better not. "You've been in battles, though."

"Yes." He did not sound very proud of it. "I was at the Mummer's Ford. When Lord Beric fell into the river, I dragged him up onto the bank so he wouldn't drown and stood over him with my sword. I never had to fight, though. He had a broken lance sticking out of him, so no one bothered us. When we regrouped, Green Gergen helped pull his lordship back onto a horse."

Arya was remembering the stableboy at King's Landing. After him there'd been that guard whose throat she cut at Harrenhal, and Ser Amory's men at that holdfast by the lake. She didn't know if Weese and Chiswyck counted, or the ones who'd died on account of the weasel soup . . . all of a sudden, she felt very sad. "My father was called Ned too," she said.

"I know. I saw him at the Hand's tourney. I wanted to go up and speak with him, but I couldn't think what to say." Ned shivered beneath his cloak, a sodden length of pale purple. "Were you at the tourney? I saw your sister there. Ser Loras Tyrell gave her a rose."

"She told me." It all seemed so long ago. "Her friend Jeyne Poole fell in love with your Lord Beric."

"He's promised to my aunt." Ned looked uncomfortable. "That was before, though. Before he . . . "

. . . died? she thought, as Ned's voice trailed off into an awkward silence. Their horses' hooves made sucking sounds as they pulled free of the mud.

"My lady?" Ned said at last. "You have a baseborn brother . . . Jon Snow?"

"He's with the Night's Watch on the Wall." Maybe I should go to the Wall instead of Riverrun. Jon wouldn't care who I killed or whether I brushed my hair . . . "Jon looks like me, even though he's bastard-born. He used to muss my hair and call me ‘little sister.' " Arya missed Jon most of all. Just saying his name made her sad. "How do you know about Jon?"

"He is my milk brother."

"Brother?" Arya did not understand. "But you're from Dorne. How could you and Jon be blood?"

"Milk brothers. Not blood. My lady mother had no milk when I was little, so Wylla had to nurse me."

Arya was lost. "Who's Wylla?"

"Jon Snow's mother. He never told you? She's served us for years and years. Since before I was born."

"Jon never knew his mother. Not even her name." Arya gave Ned a wary look. "You know her? Truly?" Is he making mock of me? "If you lie I'll punch your face."

"Wylla was my wetnurse," he repeated solemnly. "I swear it on the honor of my House."

"You have a House?" That was stupid; he was a squire, of course he had a House. "Who are you?"

"My lady?" Ned looked embarrassed. "I'm Edric Dayne, the . . . the Lord of Starfall."

Behind them, Gendry groaned. "Lords and ladies," he proclaimed in a disgusted tone. Arya plucked a withered crabapple off a passing branch and whipped it at him, bouncing it off his thick bull head. "Ow," he said. "That hurt." He felt the skin above his eye. "What kind of lady throws crabapples at people?"

"The bad kind," said Arya, suddenly contrite. She turned back to Ned. "I'm sorry I didn't know who you were. My lord."

"The fault is mine, my lady." He was very polite.

Jon has a mother. Wylla, her name is Wylla. She would need to remember so she could tell him, the next time she saw him. She wondered if he would still call her "little sister." I'm not so little anymore. He'd have to call me something else. Maybe once she got to Riverrun she could write Jon a letter and tell him what Ned Dayne had said. "There was an Arthur Dayne," she remembered. "The one they called the Sword of the Morning."

"My father was Ser Arthur's elder brother. Lady Ashara was my aunt. I never knew her, though. She threw herself into the sea from atop the Palestone Sword before I was born."

"Why would she do that?" said Arya, startled.

Ned looked wary. Maybe he was afraid that she was going to throw something at him. "Your lord father never spoke of her?" he said. "The Lady Ashara Dayne, of Starfall?"

"No. Did he know her?"

"Before Robert was king. She met your father and his brothers at Harrenhal, during the year of the false spring."

"Oh." Arya did not know what else to say. "Why did she jump in the sea, though?"

"Her heart was broken."

Sansa would have sighed and shed a tear for true love, but Arya just thought it was stupid. She couldn't say that to Ned, though, not about his own aunt. "Did someone break it?"

He hesitated. "Perhaps it's not my place . . . "

"Tell me."

He looked at her uncomfortably. "My aunt Allyria says Lady Ashara and your father fell in love at Harrenhal—"


"That boy Ned said . . . "

"Aye, he told me. Lady Ashara Dayne. It's an old tale, that one. I heard it once at Winterfell, when I was no older than you are now." He took hold of her bridle firmly and turned her horse around. "I doubt there's any truth to it. But if there is, what of it? When Ned met this Dornish lady, his brother Brandon was still alive, and it was him betrothed to Lady Catelyn, so there's no stain on your father's honor. There's nought like a tourney to make the blood run hot, so maybe some words were whispered in a tent of a night, who can say? Words or kisses, maybe more, but where's the harm in that? Spring had come, or so they thought, and neither one of them was pledged."

"She killed herself, though," said Arya uncertainly. "Ned says she jumped from a tower into the sea."

"So she did," Harwin admitted, as he led her back, "but that was for grief, I'd wager. She'd lost a brother, the Sword of the Morning." He shook his head. "Let it lie, my lady. They're dead, all of them. Let it lie . . . and please, when we come to Riverrun, say naught of this to your mother."

Arya VII, Storm 43

Now we know the aunt betrothed to Beric was not Ashara, since Ashara was presumed dead after tossing herself into the sea. So, we know that Arthur and Ashara had an older brother and a younger sister, but only the younger sister and her nephew Edric, son of the eldest of the siblings, are alive at the beginning of Game.

Perhaps more interestingly, Edric tells Arya that his wetnurse was Jon Snow’s mother, and that her name was Wylla. This clearly suggests several things...

Rhaegar’s oldest friend likely secured Wylla as a wetnurse for Lyanna’s soon-to-be-born babe, and Eddard likely found her at the Tower of Joy. (Otherwise, how would Jon have survived Lyanna's death? Goat's milk from the small folk around the Tower of Joy?)

At some point, Eddard lied to protect Jon, claiming that he and Wylla were Jon’s parents.

Arthur and Howland Reed would have known the truth, but whether Ashara or her brother Lord Dayne knew the truth or the lie was not clear. In any case, Ashara is presumed dead, and Arthur and his brother are dead, and the remaining Daynes apparently believe that Wylla is Jon Snow’s mother.

Eddard took his lie, Jon, Wylla, and Lyanna’s corpse to King’s Landing, where he reconciled with Robert. Now, I am not saying that Eddard took Jon and Wylla into the throne room, but I expect he had them in tow on his way back to Winterfell, and he probably stopped at King's Landing to reconcile with Robert. He most certainly did not stop at Riverrun to pick up his wife and son. 

At that point, the he apparently allowed the rumor of Ashara as Jon’s mother to spread among his men, since Wylla was believed to be Jon’s wetnurse at Winterfell (unless, of course, you want to argue that Eddard left Wylla behind at Starfall and got another wetnurse. But what would be the point of that?)

Thereafter, Wylla was sent back to Starfall, where she nursed Edric, who is about four years younger than Jon.

And we are given another reason for Ashara throwing herself from the tower: that she and Eddard had fallen in love at the Tourney at Harrenhal, so that her lover had killed her brother, and wed another woman. This, of course, is consistent with the rumors of Ashara being the mother of Eddard's bastard, and it was corroborated by Meera's tale of the Knight of the Laughing Tree early in Storm. That Ashara killed herself because she lost her lover who killed her brother is a little more plausible, but we are still left wondering.

Oh, and note the name of one of the towers at Starfall: Palestone Sword, which is clearly an allusion to Dawn.

Here, we have part of a dream of Jaime's...


Brienne touched his arm. There are more."

He saw them too. They were armored all in snow, it seemed to him, and ribbons of mist swirled back from their shoulders. The visors of their helms were closed, but Jaime Lannister did not need to look upon their faces to know them.

Five had been his brothers. Oswell Whent and Jon Darry. Lewyn Martell, a prince of Dorne. The White Bull, Gerold Hightower. Ser Arthur Dayne, Sword of the Morning. And beside them, crowned in mist and grief with his long hair streaming behind him, rode Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone and rightful heir to the Iron Throne.

"You don't frighten me," he called, turning as they split to either side of him. He did not know which way to face. "I will fight you one by one or all together. But who is there for the wench to duel? She gets cross when you leave her out."

"I swore an oath to keep him safe," she said to Rhaegar's shade. "I swore a holy oath."

"We all swore oaths," said Ser Arthur Dayne, so sadly.

The shades dismounted from their ghostly horses. When they drew their longswords, it made not a sound. "He was going to burn the city," Jaime said. "To leave Robert only ashes."

"He was your king," said Darry.

"You swore to keep him safe," said Whent.

"And the children, them as well," said Prince Lewyn.

Prince Rhaegar burned with a cold light, now white, now red, now dark. "I left my wife and children in your hands."

"I never thought he'd hurt them." Jaime's sword was burning less brightly now. "I was with the king . . . "

"Killing the king," said Ser Arthur.

"Cutting his throat," said Prince Lewyn.

"The king you had sworn to die for," said the White Bull.

The fires that ran along the blade were guttering out, and Jaime remembered what Cersei had said. No. Terror closed a hand about his throat. Then his sword went dark, and only Brienne's burned, as the ghosts came rushing in.


The moonlight glimmered pale upon the stump where Jaime had rested his head. The moss covered it so thickly he had not noticed before, but now he saw that the wood was white. It made him think of Winterfell, and Ned Stark's heart tree. It was not him, he thought. It was never him. But the stump was dead and so was Stark and so were all the others, Prince Rhaegar and Ser Arthur and the children. And Aerys. Aerys is most dead of all.

Jaime VI, Storm 44

I have a theory that incorporates this dream. Since the dream appears to be inspired by Bloodraven (which we could not realize until after Dance), it really doesn't have much to do with House Dayne. Rather it addresses Jaime's relationship with Aerys, Rhaegar, Arthur, and the rest of the Kingsguard.


"Do you recall the tale I told you of our first meeting, Imp?" Prince Oberyn asked, as the Bastard of Godsgrace knelt before him to fasten his greaves. "It was not for your tail alone that my sister and I came to Casterly Rock. We were on a quest of sorts. A quest that took us to Starfall, the Arbor, Oldtown, the Shield Islands, Crakehall, and finally Casterly Rock . . . but our true destination was marriage. Doran was betrothed to Lady Mellario of Norvos, so he had been left behind as castellan of Sunspear. My sister and I were yet unpromised.

Tyrion X, Storm 70

So who were the possible matches for Oberyn and Elia at Starfall? Ashara and Edric's father?

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Part IV

In The Sworn Sword, we learn that Daemon Blackfyre was as badass as badass gets because he was as badass as the Sword of the Morning and the Dragonknight...


“Daeron . . .” Ser Eustace almost slurred the word, and Dunk realized he was half drunk. “Daeron was spindly and round of shoulder, with a little belly that wobbled when he walked. Daemon stood straight and proud, and his stomach was flat and hard as an oaken shield. And he could fight . With ax or lance or flail, he was as good as any knight I ever saw, but with the sword he was the Warrior himself. When Prince Daemon had Blackfyre in his hand, there was not a man to equal him . . . not Ulrick Dayne with Dawn, no, nor even the Dragonknight with Dark Sister.

The Sworn Sword

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Part V

In A Feast for Crows, we meet Darkstar


It had been years since his last vigil. And I was younger then, a boy of fifteen years. He had worn no armor then, only a plain white tunic. The sept where he'd spent the night was not a third as large as any of the Great Sept's seven transepts. Jaime had laid his sword across the Warrior's knees, piled his armor at his feet, and knelt upon the rough stone floor before the altar. When dawn came his knees were raw and bloody. "All knights must bleed, Jaime," Ser Arthur Dayne had said, when he saw. "Blood is the seal of our devotion." With dawn he tapped him on the shoulder; the pale blade was so sharp that even that light touch cut through Jaime's tunic, so he bled anew. He never felt it. A boy knelt; a knight rose. The Young Lion, not the Kingslayer.

But that was long ago, and the boy was dead.

Jaime I, Feast 8

So, Dawn sounds as sharp as a Valyrian steel.


"I was not born blind," he reminded them. "When last I passed this way, I saw every rock and tree and whitecap, and watched the grey gulls flying in our wake. I was five-and-thirty and had been a maester of the chain for sixteen years. Egg wanted me to help him rule, but I knew my place was here. He sent me north aboard the Golden Dragon, and insisted that his friend Ser Duncan see me safe to Eastwatch. No recruit had arrived at the Wall with so much pomp since Nymeria sent the Watch six kings in golden fetters. Egg emptied out the dungeons too, so I would not need to say my vows alone. My honor guard, he called them. One was no less a man than Brynden Rivers. Later he was chosen lord commander."

Samwell II, Feast 15

We will learn later that the Lord of Starfall was one of those six kings sent to the Wall to take the black.

And now, we meet a second Dayne! But he is of the night...


"Garin the Great," offered Drey, "the wonder of the Rhoyne."

"That's the one. He made Valyria tremble."

"They trembled," said Ser Gerold, "then they killed him. If I led a quarter of a million men to death, would they call me Gerold the Great?" He snorted. "I shall remain Darkstar, I think. At least it is mine own." He unsheathed his longsword, sat upon the lip of the dry well, and began to hone the blade with an oilstone.

Arianne watched him warily. He is highborn enough to make a worthy consort, she thought. Father would question my good sense, but our children would be as beautiful as dragonlords. If there was a handsomer man in Dorne, she did not know him. Ser Gerold Dayne had an aquiline nose, high cheekbones, a strong jaw. He kept his face clean-shaven, but his thick hair fell to his collar like a silver glacier, pided by a streak of midnight black. He has a cruel mouth, though, and a crueler tongue. His eyes seemed black as he sat outlined against the dying sun, sharpening his steel, but she had looked at them from a closer vantage and she knew that they were purple. Dark purple. Dark and angry.

He must have felt her gaze upon him, for he looked up from his sword, met her eyes, and smiled. Arianne felt heat rushing to her face. I should never have brought him. If he gives me such a look when Arys is here, we will have blood on the sand. Whose, she could not say. By tradition the Kingsguard were the finest knights in all the Seven Kingdoms . . . but Darkstar was Darkstar.


Ser Gerold rose. "I believe I'll have a piss."

"Watch where you set your feet," Drey cautioned. "It has been a while since Prince Oberyn milked the local vipers."

"I was weaned on venom, Dalt. Any viper takes a bite of me will rue it." Ser Gerold vanished through a broken arch.

When he was gone, the others exchanged glances. "Forgive me, princess," said Garin softly, "but I do not like that man."

"A pity," Drey said. "I believe he's half in love with you."

"We need him," Arianne reminded them. "It may be that we will need his sword, and we will surely need his castle."

"High Hermitage is not the only castle in Dorne," Spotted Sylva pointed out, "and you have other knights who love you well. Drey is a knight."


"Princess." Ser Gerold Dayne stood behind her, half in starlight and half in shadow.

"How was your piss?" Arianne inquired archly.

"The sands were duly grateful." Dayne put a foot upon the head of a statue that might have been the Maiden till the sands had scoured her face away. "It occurred to me as I was pissing that this plan of yours may not yield you what you want."

"And what is it I want, ser?"

"The Sand Snakes freed. Vengeance for Oberyn and Elia. Do I know the song? You want a little taste of lion blood."

That, and my birthright. I want Sunspear, and my father's seat. I want Dorne. "I want justice."

"Call it what you will. Crowning the Lannister girl is a hollow gesture. She will never sit the Iron Throne. Nor will you get the war you want. The lion is not so easily provoked."

"The lion's dead. Who knows which cub the lioness prefers?"

"The one in her own den." Ser Gerold drew his sword. It glimmered in the starlight, sharp as lies. "This is how you start a war. Not with a crown of gold, but with a blade of steel."

I am no murderer of children. "Put that away. Myrcella is under my protection. And Ser Arys will permit no harm to come to his precious princess, you know that."

"No, my lady. What I know is that Daynes have been killing Oakhearts for several thousand years."

His arrogance took her breath away. "It seems to me that Oakhearts have been killing Daynes for just as long."

"We all have our family traditions." Darkstar sheathed his sword. "The moon is rising, and I see your paragon approaching."


Arianne led her queen-to-be to the final member of her little band. "Last, but first in valor, I give you Ser Gerold Dayne, a knight of Starfall."

Ser Gerold went to one knee. The moonlight shone in his dark eyes as he studied the child coolly.

"There was an Arthur Dayne," Myrcella said. "He was a knight of the Kingsguard in the days of Mad King Aerys."

"He was the Sword of the Morning. He is dead."

"Are you the Sword of the Morning now?"

"No. Men call me Darkstar, and I am of the night."


As she led the princess to the fire, Arianne found Ser Gerold behind her. "My House goes back ten thousand years, unto the dawn of days," he complained. "Why is it that my cousin is the only Dayne that anyone remembers?"

"He was a great knight," Ser Arys Oakheart put in.

"He had a great sword," Darkstar said.

"And a great heart." Ser Arys took Arianne by the arm. "Princess, I beg a moment's word."


Arianne had hoped to reach the river before the sun came up, but they had started much later than she'd planned, so they were still in the saddle when the eastern sky turned red. Darkstar cantered up beside her. "Princess," he said, "I'd set a faster pace, unless you mean to kill the child after all. We have no tents, and by day the sands are cruel."

"I know the sands as well as you do, ser," she told him. All the same, she did as he suggested. It was hard on their mounts, but better she should lose six horses than one princess.


Darkstar's laughter rang out. "Are you blind or stupid, Oakheart? There are too many. Put up your sword."

The Queenmaker, Feast 21

I have a theory on Darkstar, but I suspect I am the only person who believes it. In any event, Darkstar appears to be a good fighter, but he seems to be opposite to Arthur in every other way.


"You were better, before you lost your hand. Ser Barristan, when he was young. Arthur Dayne was better, and Prince Rhaegar was a match for even him. Do not prate at me about how fierce the Flower is. He's just a boy." She was tired of Jaime balking her.

Cersei V, Feast 24


"The Sword of the Morning slew the Smiling Knight, my lady. Ser Arthur Dayne, a better knight than me." Jaime pulled back his golden fingers and turned once more to Lady Mariya.


"If you want their help, you need to make them love you. That was how Arthur Dayne did it, when we rode against the Kingswood Brotherhood. He paid the smallfolk for the food we ate, brought their grievances to King Aerys, expanded the grazing lands around their villages, even won them the right to fell a certain number of trees each year and take a few of the king's deer during the autumn. The forest folk had looked to Toyne to defend them, but Ser Arthur did more for them than the Brotherhood could ever hope to do, and won them to our side. After that, the rest was easy."

Jaime IV, Feast 30

This adds to the reader's understanding of what a great leader Arthur was.


Hotah made no reply, except to grunt. Arianne could feel his anger. Darkstar had escaped him, the most dangerous of all her little group of plotters. He had outraced all his pursuers and vanished into the deep desert, with blood upon his blade.


Someone told, she thought. Someone told. Garin, Drey, and Spotted Sylva were friends of her girlhood, as dear to her as her cousin Tyene. She could not believe they would inform on her . . . but that left only Darkstar, and if he was the betrayer, why had he turned his sword on poor Myrcella? He wanted to kill her instead of crowning her, he said as much at Shandystone. He said that was how I'd get the war I wanted. But it made no sense for Dayne to be the traitor. If Ser Gerold had been the worm in the apple, why would he have turned his sword upon Myrcella?


The last she had seen of the other princess had been on their ride back to Sunspear. Too weak to sit a horse, Myrcella had traveled in a litter, her head bound up in silken bandages where Darkstar slashed at her, her green eyes bright with fever.


I have a raven, Arianne thought, triumphantly, but who to send her to? The only one of her conspirators to escape her father's net was Darkstar. By now Ser Gerold might well have been taken, however; if not, he would surely have fled Dorne.


"Have you caught Ser Gerold?"

He shook his head. "Would that we had. You were a fool to make him part of this. Darkstar is the most dangerous man in Dorne. You and he have done us all great harm."

Arianne was almost afraid to ask. "Myrcella. Is she . . . ?"

". . . dead? No, though Darkstar did his best. All eyes were on your white knight so no one seems quite certain just what happened, but it would appear that her horse shied away from his at the last instant, else he would have taken off the top of the girl's skull. As it is, the slash opened her cheek down to the bone and sliced off her right ear. Maester Caleotte was able to save her life, but no poultice nor potion will ever restore her face. She was my ward, Arianne. Betrothed to your own brother and under my protection. You have dishonored all of us."


"What they did they did for love for me. They do not deserve to die on Ghaston Grey."

"As it happens, I agree. Aside from Darkstar, your fellow plotters were no more than foolish children. Still, this was no harmless game of cyvasse. You and your friends were playing at treason. I might have had their heads off."

"You might have, but you didn't. Dayne, Dalt, Santagar . . . no, you would never dare make enemies of such Houses."

"I dare more than you dream . . . but leave that for the nonce. Ser Andrey has been sent to Norvos to serve your lady mother for three years. Garin will spend his next two years in Tyrosh. From his kin amongst the orphans, I took coin and hostages. Lady Sylva received no punishment from me, but she was of an age to marry. Her father has shipped her to Greenstone to wed Lord Estermont. As for Arys Oakheart, he chose his own fate and met it bravely. A knight of the Kingsguard . . . what did you do to him?"


Say that he died defending his little princess. Tell Ser Balon that Darkstar tried to kill her and Ser Arys stepped between them and saved her life." That was how the white knights of the Kingsguard were supposed to die, giving up their own lives for those that they had sworn to protect. "Ser Balon may be suspicious, as you were when the Lannisters killed your sister and her children, but he will have no proof . . ."

". . . until he speaks with Myrcella. Or must that brave child suffer a tragic accident as well? If so, it will mean war. No lie will save Dorne from the queen's wroth if her daughter should perish whilst in my care."

He needs me, Arianne realized. That's why he sent for me.

"I could tell Myrcella what to say, but why should I?"

The Princess in the Tower, Feast 40

Since Gerold Dayne was blamed for the death of Arys Oakheart, and since Daynes have been killing Oakhearts for thousands of years, it seems likely that these two house could stand against each other in the Second Dance of the Dragons. I suspect Oakheart will fight for Aegon, and Dayne will fight for Daenerys. 

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Part VI

In A Dance with Dragons, we learn a little more about Arthur, and the Darkstar subplot takes a small step forward. Better yet, Barristan reveals quite a bit. 


They found the Golden Company beside the river as the sun was lowering in the west. It was a camp that even Arthur Dayne might have approved of—compact, orderly, defensible. A deep ditch had been dug around it, with sharpened stakes inside. The tents stood in rows, with broad avenues between them. The latrines had been placed beside the river, so the current would wash away the wastes. The horse lines were to the north, and beyond them, two dozen elephants grazed beside the water, pulling up reeds with their trunks. Griff glanced at the great grey beasts with approval. There is not a warhorse in all of Westeros that will stand against them. Tall battle standards of cloth-of-gold flapped atop lofty poles along the perimeters of the camp. Beneath them, armed and armored sentries walked their rounds with spears and crossbows, watching every approach. Griff had feared that the company might have grown lax under Harry Strickland, who had always seemed more concerned with making friends than enforcing discipline; but it would seem his worries had been misplaced.

The Lost Lord, Dance 24

Arthur was amazing. Dude was a badass fighter, the most chivalrous of knights, a wise leader, and now we learn that he had exceptional military command skills.


Princess Arianne unfolded from the cushion where she sat and put a hand on Hotah's arm. "That wasn't how it happened, Cousin. Ser Arys was slain by Gerold Dayne."

The Sand Snakes looked at one another. "Darkstar?"

"Darkstar did it," his little princess said. "He tried to kill Princess Myrcella too. As she will tell Ser Balon."

Nym smiled. "That part at least is true."

"It is all true," said the prince, with a wince of pain. Is it his gout that hurts him, or the lie? "And now Ser Gerold has fled back to High Hermit-age, beyond our reach."

"Darkstar," Tyene murmured, with a giggle. "Why not? It is all his doing. But will Ser Balon believe it?"

"He will if he hears it from Myrcella," Arianne insisted.


Prince Doran raised a hand. His knuckles were as dark as cherries and near as big. "Ser Balon is a guest beneath my roof. He has eaten of my bread and salt. I will not do him harm. No. We will travel to the Water Gardens, where he will hear Myrcella's story and send a raven to his queen. The girl will ask him to hunt down the man who hurt her. If he is the man I judge, Swann will not be able to refuse. Obara, you will lead him to High Hermit-age to beard Darkstar in his den.


The Watcher, Dance 38

Will this be the end of Darkstar? Or will this be the end of Obara and Balon? Or, as Arianne has suggested to us, has Darkstar abandoned Dorne altogether?


"There is more, worse. Will you sit down?"

"Sit down?" Cersei shook her head. What could be worse? She was to be tried for high treason whilst the little queen and her cousins flew off as free as birds. "Tell me. What is it?"

"Myrcella. We have had grave news from Dorne."

"Tyrion, " she said at once. Tyrion had sent her little girl to Dorne, and Cersei had dispatched Ser Balon Swann to bring her home. All Dornishmen were snakes, and the Martells were the worst of them. The Red Viper had even tried to defend the Imp, had come within a hairbreadth of a victory that would have allowed the dwarf to escape the blame for Joffrey's murder. "It's him, he's been in Dorne all this time, and now he's seized my daughter."

Ser Kevan gave her another scowl. "Myrcella was attacked by a Dornish knight named Gerold Dayne. She's alive, but hurt. He slashed her face open, she … I'm sorry … she lost an ear."

"An ear." Cersei stared at him, aghast. She was just a child, my precious princess. She was so pretty, too. "He cut off her ear. And Prince Doran and his Dornish knights, where were they? They could not defend one little girl? Where was Arys Oakheart?"

"Slain, defending her. Dayne cut him down, it's said."

The Sword of the Morning had been a Dayne, the queen recalled, but he was long dead. Who was this Ser Gerold and why would he wish to harm her daughter? She could not make any sense of this, unless … "Tyrion lost half his nose in the Battle of the Blackwater. Slashing her face, cutting off an ear … the Imp's grubby little fingers are all over this."

"Prince Doran says nothing of your brother. And Balon Swann writes that Myrcella puts it all on this Gerold Dayne. Darkstar, they call him."

She gave a bitter laugh. "Whatever they call him, he is my brother's catspaw. Tyrion has friends amongst the Dornish. The Imp planned this all along. It was Tyrion who betrothed Myrcella to Prince Trystane. Now I see why."

"You see Tyrion in every shadow."

"He is a creature of the shadows. He killed Joffrey. He killed Father. Did you think he would stop there? I feared that the Imp was still in King's Landing plotting harm to Tommen, but he must have gone to Dorne instead to kill Myrcella first." Cersei paced the width of the cell. "I need to be with Tommen. These Kingsguard knights are as useless as nipples on a breastplate." She rounded on her uncle. "Ser Arys was killed, you said."

"At the hands of this man Darkstar, yes."

"Dead, he's dead, you are certain of that?"

"That is what we have been told."


Cersei I, Dance 54

Was this just to show how paranoid and obsessed Cersei has become with her wee brother? I don't see anything here that advances Darkstar's role in the plot.


Ser Barristan stepped out alone onto the terrace gardens. I am not made for this, he reflected as he looked out over the sprawling city. The pyramids were waking, one by one, lanterns and torches flickering to life as shadows gathered in the streets below. Plots, ploys, whispers, lies, secrets within secrets, and somehow I have become part of them. Perhaps by now he should have grown used to such things. The Red Keep had its secrets too. Even Rhaegar. The Prince of Dragonstone had never trusted him as he had trusted Arthur Dayne. Harrenhal was proof of that. The year of the false spring.

The memory was still bitter. Old Lord Whent had announced the tourney shortly after a visit from his brother, Ser Oswell Whent of the Kingsguard. With Varys whispering in his ear, King Aerys became convinced that his son was conspiring to depose him, that Whent's tourney was but a ploy to give Rhaegar a pretext for meeting with as many great lords as could be brought together. Aerys had not set foot outside the Red Keep since Duskendale, yet suddenly he announced that he would accompany Prince Rhaegar to Harrenhal, and everything had gone awry from there.

If I had been a better knight … if I had unhorsed the prince in that last tilt, as I unhorsed so many others, it would have been for me to choose the queen of love and beauty …

Rhaegar had chosen Lyanna Stark of Winterfell. Barristan Selmy would have made a different choice. Not the queen, who was not present. Nor Elia of Dorne, though she was good and gentle; had she been chosen, much war and woe might have been avoided. His choice would have been a young maiden not long at court, one of Elia's companions … though compared to Ashara Dayne, the Dornish princess was a kitchen drab. Even after all these years, Ser Barristan could still recall Ashara's smile, the sound of her laughter. He had only to close his eyes to see her, with her long dark hair tumbling about her shoulders and those haunting purple eyes. Daenerys has the same eyes. Sometimes when the queen looked at him, he felt as if he were looking at Ashara's daughter …

But Ashara's daughter had been stillborn, and his fair lady had thrown herself from a tower soon after, mad with grief for the child she had lost, and perhaps for the man who had dishonored her at Harrenhal as well. She died never knowing that Ser Barristan had loved her. How could she?

He was a knight of the Kingsguard, sworn to celibacy. No good could have come from telling her his feelings. No good came from silence either. If I had unhorsed Rhaegar and crowned Ashara queen of love and beauty, might she have looked to me instead of Stark?

He would never know. But of all his failures, none haunted Barristan Selmy so much as that.

The Kingbreaker, Dance 67

OK, this is good, really good. Rhaegar was plotting with Arthur Dayne, Oswell Whent, and Lord Whent. Varys advised Aerys that Rhaegar intended to meet with as many lords as possible, and we recall Jaime's recollection that Rhaegar had intended to make changes, and that he would have pushed for changes if he had won the Battle of the Trident.

That line about Daenerys looking like she could have been Ashara's daughter... Man, through in some lemons and you have all the fixings for crackpot stew.

But no, the line set up the next line, that Ashara's daughter was stillborn. Now, her suicide makes more sense, especially if Eddard was the father.

And note that Ashara has dark hair. Up to this point, I think most of us assumed her hair was like Edric's.


The dry moat surrounding Maegor's Holdfast was three feet deep in snow, the iron spikes that lined it glistening with frost. The only way in or out of Maegor's was across the drawbridge that spanned that moat. A knight of the Kingsguard was always posted at its far end. Tonight the duty had fallen to Ser Meryn Trant. With Balon Swann hunting the rogue knight Darkstar down in Dorne, Loras Tyrell gravely wounded on Dragon-stone, and Jaime vanished in the riverlands, only four of the White Swords remained in King's Landing, and Ser Kevan had thrown Osmund Kettleblack (and his brother Osfryd) into the dungeon within hours of Cersei's confessing that she had taken both men as lovers. That left only Trant, the feeble Boros Blount, and Qyburn's mute monster Robert Strong to protect the young king and royal family.

Epilogue, Dance

At the end of Dance, we still have no resolution to the Darkstar subplot...

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Part VII

In The World of Ice and Fire, we learn more of the history of House Dayne, which is helpful since the novels give us very little. 


Princess Nymeria named Mors Martell the Prince of Dorne, in the Rhoynish style, asserting his dominion over “the red sands and the white, and all the lands and rivers from the mountains to the great salt sea.”

Such supremacy was easier to declare than to achieve, however. Years of war followed, as the Martells and their Rhoynar partners met and subdued one petty king after another. No fewer than six conquered kings were sent to the Wall in golden fetters by Nymeria and her prince, until only the greatest of their foes remained: Yorick Yronwood, the Bloodroyal, Fifth of His Name, Lord of Yronwood, Warden of the Stone Way, Knight of the Wells, King of Redmarch, King of the Greenbelt, and King of the Dornish.

For nine years Mors Martell and his allies (amongst them House Fowler of Skyreach, House Toland of Ghost Hill, House Dayne of Starfall, and House Uller of the Hellholt) struggled against Yronwood and his bannermen (the Jordaynes of the Tor, the Wyls of the Stone Way, together with the Blackmonts, the Qorgyles, and many more), in battles too numerous to mention. When Mors Martell fell to Yorick Yronwood’s sword in the Third Battle of the Boneway, Princess Nymeria assumed sole command of his armies. Two more years of battle were required, but in the end it was Nymeria that Yorick Yronwood bent the knee to, and Nymeria who ruled thereafter from Sunspear.

Though she married twice more (first to the aged Lord Uller of Hellholt, and later to the dashing Ser Davos Dayne of Starfall, the Sword of the Morning), Nymeria herself remained the unquestioned ruler of Dorne for almost twenty-seven years, her husbands serving only as counselors and consorts. She survived a dozen attempts upon her life, put down two rebellions, and threw back two invasions by the Storm King Durran the Third and one by King Greydon of the Reach.

When at last she died, it was the eldest of her four daughters by Mors Martell who succeeded her, not her son by Davos Dayne, for by then the Dornish had come to adopt many of the laws and customs of the Rhoynar, though the memories of Mother Rhoyne and the ten thousand ships were fading into legend.

Ten Thousand Ships, The World of Ice and Fire

One of the six kings Nymeria sent off to take the black was the Lord of Starfall. Afterward, House Dayne joined House Martell in Martell's fight to subdue House Yronwood, and Nymeria took the Sword of the Morning as her third successive consort.

However, Martell's daughter, not Dayne's son, succeeded Nymeria as ruler of Dorne.


There, seated on his throne amongst hundreds of notables in the shadow of Casterly Rock, the king cheered lustily as his son Prince Rhaegar, newly knighted, unhorsed both Tygett and Gerion Lannister, and even overcame the gallant Ser Barristan Selmy, before falling in the champion’s tilt to the renowned Kingsguard knight Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning.


At five-and-ten, Ser Jaime Lannister was already a knight—an honor he had received from the hand of Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning, whom many considered to be the realm’s most chivalrous warrior. Jaime’s knighthood had been won during Ser Arthur’s campaign against the outlaws known as the Kingswood Brotherhood, and none could doubt his prowess.


Aerys II, The World of Ice and Fire

The quotes above are additional nods toward the fighting prowess of Arthur Dayne. 


Prince Rhaegar’s support came from the younger men at court, including Lord Jon Connington, Ser Myles Mooton of Maidenpool, and Ser Richard Lonmouth. The Dornishmen who had come to court with the Princess Elia were in the prince’s confidence as well, particularly Prince Lewyn Martell, Elia’s uncle and a Sworn Brother of the Kingsguard. But the most formidable of all Rhaegar’s friends and allies in King’s Landing was surely Ser Arthur Dayne, the Sword of the Morning.

The Year of the False Spring, The World of Ice and Fire

This circle of confidants recalls what Barristan hinted at about Rhaegar's Harrenhal plot, and the inclusion of Arthur, Lewyn, and other Dornishmen at court.

As Oldtown grew wealthy and powerful, neighboring lords and petty kings turned covetous eyes upon its riches, and pirates and reavers from beyond the seas heard tales of its splendors as well. Thrice in the space of a single century the city was taken and sacked, once by the Dornish king Samwell Dayne (the Starfire), once by Qhored the Cruel and his ironmen, and once by Gyles I Gardener (the Woe), who reportedly sold three-quarters of the city’s inhabitants into slavery, but was unable to breach the defenses of the Hightower on Battle Isle.

Oldtown, The World of Ice and Fire

This was ancient history, but we do see a history of antagonism between House Hightower against the Ironmen, Starfall, and Highgarden.


The disunity of the Dornish is apparent even from our oldest sources. The great distances between each pocket of settlement and the difficulties of travel across burning sands and rugged mountains helped to isolate each small community from all the others and led to the rise of many petty lords, more than half of whom in time began to style themselves kings. Petty kings existed throughout all of Westeros, to be sure, but seldom so many (nor so petty) as the Dornish kings under the First Men.

We shall not attempt to speak of all of these. Most ruled over domains so small, or conquests so short-lived, that they are scarce worthy of note. A few of the greatest do warrant mention, however: those whose lines put down deep roots and endured for thousands of years to come. At the mouth of the Torrentine, House Dayne raised its castle on an island where that roaring, tumultuous river broadens to meet the sea. Legend says the first Dayne was led to the site when he followed the track of a falling star and there found a stone of magical powers. His descendants ruled over the western mountains for centuries thereafter as Kings of the Torrentine and Lords of Starfall.

The Breaking, The World of Ice and Fire

House Dayne was one of the most powerful of the earliest Dornish houses.


Other small kingdoms existed elsewhere in Dorne, in the deep sands, amongst the high peaks, along the salt shore, and on the isles and the Broken Arm, but few of these ever approached the power and prestige of the Daynes of Starfall, the Fowlers of Skyreach and the Wide Way, and the Yronwoods of Yronwood.

Kingdoms of the First Men, The World of Ice and Fire

The most powerful of the early Dornish houses included House Dayne, as well as Fowler and Yronwood, but not Martell.


The Daynes of Starfall are one of the most ancient houses in the Seven Kingdoms, though their fame largely rests on their ancestral sword, called Dawn, and the men who wielded it. Its origins are lost to legend, but it seems likely that the Daynes have carried it for thousands of years. Those who have had the honor of examining it say it looks like no Valyrian steel they know, being pale as milkglass but in all other respects it seems to share the properties of Valyrian blades, being incredibly strong and sharp.

Though many houses have their heirloom swords, they mostly pass the blades down from lord to lord. Some, such as the Corbrays have done, may lend the blade to a son or brother for his lifetime, only to have it return to the lord. But that is not the way of House Dayne. The wielder of Dawn is always given the title of Sword of the Morning, and only a knight of House Dayne who is deemed worthy can carry it.

For this reason, the Swords of the Morning are all famous throughout the Seven Kingdoms. There are boys who secretly dream of being a son of Starfall so they might claim that storied sword and its title. Most famous of all was Ser Arthur Dayne, the deadliest of King Aerys II’s Kingsguard, who defeated the Kingswood Brotherhood and won renown in every tourney and mêlée. He died nobly with his sworn brothers at the end of Robert’s Rebellion, after Lord Eddard Stark was said to have killed him in single combat. Lord Stark then returned Dawn to Starfall, and to Ser Arthur’s kin, as a sign of respect.

The Andals Arrive, The World of Ice and Fire

As suggested in the novels, Dawn was forged from some otherwordly metal, and it is as strong and sharp as Valyrian steel.

And we see another hint that Eddard might not have killed Arthur in single combat as his men believed.


The war against the Dornish entered a different phase after the release of Orys One-hand and the other handless lords, for King Aegon was by that time intent on revenge. The Targaryens unleashed their dragons, burning the defiant castles again and again. In return, the Dornish responded with fire of their own, sending a force to Cape Wrath in 8 AC that left half the rainwood ablaze and sacked half a dozen towns and villages. Matters escalated, and more Dornish seats fell to dragonfire in 9 AC. The Dornish responded a year later by sending a host under Lord Fowler that seized and burned the great Marcher castle of Nightsong and carried off its lords and defenders as hostages, whilst another army under Ser Joffrey Dayne marched to the very walls of Oldtown, razing the fields and villages outside it.

So again the Targaryens turned to their dragons, unleashing their fury upon Starfall and Skyreach and Hellholt. It was at Hellholt where the Dornish had their greatest success against the Targaryens. A bolt from a scorpion pierced the eye of Meraxes, and the great dragon and the queen who rode upon it fell from the sky. In her death throes, the dragon destroyed the castle’s highest tower and part of the curtain wall. Queen Rhaenys’s body was never returned to King’s Landing.


Dorne Against the Dragons, The World of Ice and Fire

Here, we see a more recent hostile act by House Dayne against House Hightower.

We also see that the Targaryen dragon unleashed their fury upon Starfall, as well as the seats of Houses Fowler and Uller. Apparently, however, the Targaryens elected not to turn Starfall into a ruin like Harrenhal.

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In The Winds of Winter,


we learn a bit more about Darkstar, and the heroes he might have to face. 


Only Ser Gerold Dayne had escaped unscathed. Darkstar. If Myrcella's horse had not shied at the last instant, his longsword would have opened her from chest to waist instead just taking off her ear. Dayne was her most grievous sin, the one that Arianne most regretted. With one stroke of his sword, he had changed her botched plot into something foul and bloody. If the gods were good, by now Obara Sand had treed him in his mountain fastness and put an end to him.

She said as much to Daemon Sand that first night, as they made camp. "Be careful what you pray for, princess," he replied. "Darkstar could put an end to Lady Obara just as easily."

"She has Areo Hotah with her." Prince Doran's captain of guards had dispatched Ser Arys Oakheart with a single blow, though the Kingsguard were supposed to be the finest knights in all the realm. "No man can stand against Hotah."

"Is that what Darkstar is? A man?" Ser Daemon grimaced. "A man would not have done what he did to Princess Myrcella. Ser Gerold is more a viper than your uncle ever was. Prince Oberyn could see that he was poison, he said so more than once. It's just a pity that he never got around to killing him."

Poison, thought Arianne. Yes. Pretty poison, though. That was how he'd fooled her. Gerold Dayne was hard and cruel, but so fair to look upon that the princess had not believed half the tales she'd heard of him. Pretty boys had ever been her weakness, particularly the ones who were dark and dangerous as well. That was before, when I was just a girl, she told herself. I am a woman now, my father's daughter. I have learned that lesson.


Arianne I, Winds

Arianne hates Darkstar, or at least resents him. If Obarra does find Darkstar, Ser Gerold will find himself confronted by Obarra Sand, Ser Balon Swan, and Aero Hotah. Those would be some pretty tough odds. Darkstar is nearly as repulsive as, Aerion Brightflame, no? Finally, note that The George uses Darkstar to show that Arianne is a sucker for a dark and handsome man.


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interesting enough Edric Daynes father seems to have gone along with Ned`s story about Jon and Wylla.

He must have known that Jon was Rhaegars son and for some reason decided to help Ned.

also Wylla seems to be a convenient story to cover the scandalous  romance between Ashara and Ned (or was it brandon?).

If Ashara killed herself because her daugther was stillborn, Why did she wait to commit suicide until the whole Tower of Joy thing? doesnt make much sense to me...

I dig the theory that ashara is alive and married to Howland Reed and Brandon`s daughter is actually Meera.. even though there is little evidence to support it. Ashara was therefore helping Ned keep Jon safe from robert by faking her death.

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What if Ned and Ashara did in fact birth Jon, and Jon is the now Sword of the Morning?  If Ashara took Aegon (Rheagar and Lyanna's) and Ned took Jon, then "Lady" Septa Lemore makes sense as Ashara and Mance may be Arthur (carrying on the Order of the Green Hand Knights and Sword of the Morning post).  George has told fans that he will definitely let us know more about the Order of the Green Hand.  Just a thought.

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3 hours ago, Bonkers said:

What if Ned and Ashara did in fact birth Jon, and Jon is the now Sword of the Morning?  If Ashara took Aegon (Rheagar and Lyanna's) and Ned took Jon, then "Lady" Septa Lemore makes sense as Ashara and Mance may be Arthur (carrying on the Order of the Green Hand Knights and Sword of the Morning post).  George has told fans that he will definitely let us know more about the Order of the Green Hand.  Just a thought.

Please be sure to sweep up that pot before you go. :)

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On Invalid Date at 11:06 PM, Lost Melnibonean said:

So who were the possible matches for Oberyn and Elia at Starfall? Ashara and Edric's father?

I believe it to be Arthur or the mysterious older brother(Edrics father) to Elia and possibly Ashara to Oberyn.

If Arthur is the same age as Rhaegar, he would be around 14 at the time of their visit. He is not in the KG yet so marriage is possible for him.

If Ashara is the same age as Ned, she would be around 10 at the time of their visit.

I believe both Elia and Oberyn are 1-3yrs older than Rhaegar, making them 15-17 at that time.

Cannot remember exactly but Cersei recalls being 6 or 7 and her father telling her that he intends to betrothed her to Raegar but she is not to mention it to anybody. When she is 10, Tywin holds tourney to honour birth of Viserys, his proposal for betrothal is flatly rejected by Aerys.

So its possible Oberyn and Elias visit occurs in 273AC with the tournament being held in 276AC. Another thing that is possible on that voyage, is the stop in Oldtown maybe where Oberyn sleeps with a whore and Obara Sand becomes the end result.


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On 1/18/2017 at 7:01 AM, Bonkers said:

What if Ned and Ashara did in fact birth Jon, and Jon is the now Sword of the Morning?  If Ashara took Aegon (Rheagar and Lyanna's) and Ned took Jon, then "Lady" Septa Lemore makes sense as Ashara and Mance may be Arthur (carrying on the Order of the Green Hand Knights and Sword of the Morning post).  George has told fans that he will definitely let us know more about the Order of the Green Hand.  Just a thought.

Certainly my favorite non RLJ parentage theory. Do you have any more thoughts on the Order of the Greenhand? We know so little about them.

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"we are left to wonder whether Ashara loved her brother so much that she threw herself into the sea upon his death. But that just doesn’t add up, does it?"

Perhaps she threw herself not into a literal sea;

but into a sea of grass such as described over and over in Essos by Dany whilst traveling through the Dothraki sea.

Or a sea of tears and salt.


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Perhaps, but I suspect the gal with the "wet" and "shiny" eyes behind the mask is Shiera Seastar.  

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